Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today warned that ministers are “not just treading water on mental health, they’re sinking” after new statistics showed performance against the child and adolescent waiting time target plunging to a new record low and more than 100 children still waiting over a year for treatment.
The ISD Scotland figures show that during the quarter ending December 2017, just 71.1% of children who started their treatment did so within the 18-week waiting time target, down from 82.5% at the same point last year. It is the worst performance recorded since this target was introduced in 2014.
The target was met for just 39.1% of children in Grampian and 41.5% in Tayside.
Meanwhile new statistics showed just 76.5% of adults waiting for psychological therapies were treated within 18 weeks.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"These statistics show that ministers are not just treading water on mental health, they’re sinking.
“These are vulnerable children and teenagers struggling to cope with issues including eating disorders, anxiety, depression and bullying. It is nothing short of appalling that almost 30% now don't receive the treatment they desperately need within 18-weeks and that more than 100 children have waited over a year.
"Staff are working around the clock but they aren’t getting anywhere near the support and resources they need.
“Liberal Democrats have laid out clear plans to end the scandal of long waits and long journeys for treatment: doubling the CAMHS budget, establishing mental health beds north of Dundee and putting mental health practitioners capable of treating people in every GP surgery and A&E in the country. Nothing less is acceptable.”